Coming soon from Hospitality Action: a mental health awareness toolkit

I couldn’t let the start of another Mental Health Awareness Week go by without blogging.

This time last year, Hospitality Action marked the week with a breakfast event, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, at which we launched the results of a survey we’d conducted into the prevalence of mental health issues in the hospitality workplace.

The results were as alarming as you’d expect.

Only 5% of respondents reported that their job is rarely stressful. A worrying 80% told us that their job is stressful sometimes or most of the time. And 51% – over half! – described their job as being stressful most or all of the time.

Later last year, we partnered with The Caterer on a special edition of the magazine, focussing on mental health in hospitality. This special report provided bagfuls of research, case studies and advice. What it didn’t do, one or two hospitality leaders pointed out, was address the issue of mental wellness at manager level. It falls to managers to support the mental wellbeing of their teams; but who can they turn to when they experience challenges of their own?

This week, The Caterer’s Kat Price has published Lonely at the Top, an excellent, insightful article that presents three case studies of managers who’ve faced their own mental challenges: Philip Newman-Hall, Giovanna Grossi and Peter Avis.

Hats off to Kat and The Caterer for this important coverage. And huge respect to Giovanna, Philip and Peter for their bravery and their frankness. an excellent read, one that’s sure to give many hospitality managers the courage to reach out for help.

We aren’t marking Mental Health Awareness Week with research or an event, this year. We will of course be playing an active part in the week through social media channels.

Later this year, though, you can expect to see a major new campaign from us, offering a toolkit of print, digital and rich media assets enabling managers to start conversations with their teams, and reassure them that, as Peter Avis said to Kat, it’s okay not to be okay.

We’re your industry charity, and we’re here to help you. It’s what we do.

A postscript: as a result of our work around last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I connected with and then met Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson, a force of nature and a force for good. we’re now good friends, and Charlie is one of HA’s most vocal advocates and strongest supporters. Our relationship is proof-positive that it’s #timetotalk.

 

The Real Downton Abbey

Hospitality Action is offering supporters the exclusive opportunity to explore the opulent corridors and rooms made famous by award-winning TV period drama Downton Abbey. Guests will get to relive the drama from the popular TV show, walking through the very rooms where Hugh Bonneville’s character Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, his aristocratic family and their servants lived in the early 20th century.

Highclere Castle is a stunning country house set within a 5,000-acre estate in Hampshire and is the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. In addition to being the main filming location for Downton Abbey, Highclere was a filming location for the British comedy series Jeeves and Wooster, which starred comedians Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

Prior to the tour, guests will enjoy a Taittinger Champagne reception, kindly sponsored by Hatch Mansfield  followed by a fabulous three course lunch with carefully selected wines, kindly donated by Chapel Down in the Californian Suite at The Vineyard at Stockcross, a Relais & Châteaux 5 star hotel and spa. The hotel is renowned for its impeccable service, 3 AA Rosette restaurant and award-winning 30,000 bottle wine cellar. Guests will then have the opportunity to explore the castle and the grounds at their leisure, including the Egyptian Exhibition, before rounding off the day with a delicious afternoon tea back at The Vineyard.

We’re just delighted The Vineyard is hosting this event once again for us so we can offer our supporters the chance to visit Highclere Castle this spring. This exclusive afternoon is sure to appeal to all and will raise much-needed funds and awareness of our work – it’s set to be a fantastic day!

This event is popular with our supporters in the South West and guests willingly travel some distance to attend this fundraiser. With fabulous raffle prizes and a live auction to get you excited, the day is a real treat.

The event will be held on Monday 8th April, tickets are priced at £105 and include coach transfers between The Vineyard at Stockcross and Highclere Castle.

To book online visit: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/events . Early booking is recommended, as places are limited.

To find out more contact Maria on 020 3004 5516 or mcarter@hospitalityaction.org.uk .

Watching the pounds

There are loads of ways to fundraise for Hospitality Action.

One of the simplest and most effective is simply adding a discretionary £1 to guest bills. Our bill round-up programme is one of the fastest growing, and easiest ways to support your industry charity. In our experience guests are only too happy to contribute to the good of the industry they so admire, and it’s a great conversation starter.

One of the businesses to pioneer £1 on the bill in 2017 was the fabulous team at The Vineyard at Stockcross, who raised over £7000 in their first year running the scheme.  It’s amazing that something so simple can quickly gather momentum and drive some seriously life-changing funds for Hospitality Action.

We asked The Vineyard’s Restaurant Manager Rebecca to tell us a little bit more about fundraising for HA.

How easy did you find it to set-up and implement the scheme? 

The set up and implementation of the scheme was very easy and we had all the support we needed from HA

How did you promote the scheme and its benefits to guests? 

It is written on to the bill and we keep the leaflets available if anyone wants to have further information as well as briefing the teams who feel confident to talk about the charity and its work.

What were the guest reactions to the scheme when you told them about it?

On the whole they were happy to pay the pound – some choose not to if they have other charities they support but on the whole it has been very well supported and there’s never been an awkward moment.

The scheme at The Vineyard raised around £7,000 for Hospitality Action – how do you feel about that? 

Very happy – that’s 7,000 diners who have supported a scheme which means that the teams that looked after them have support later on in life if they need it.

What do you think are the benefits of supporting a charity like Hospitality Action? 

We have always had a charity that we raise money for – it is great that this charity now directly links into what we do – if people enjoy dining and staying out then supporting a charity like this makes complete sense. The story of Le Manoir’s Mitchell Collier really impacted our team and brought home to us how important it is to do our bit for HA.

Would you recommend the scheme to other restaurants, and if so, why?

Yes – that such a small amount on each bill can raise so much money is fantastic. And again, being part of something that directly links to each individual who works here has raised further awareness of the benefits available to them.

Adding just £1 may not seem like much, but you’ll be amazed at how much money you can raise to support your colleagues and fellow industry professionals through times of hardship.

We want as many businesses as possible to take up the scheme which can easily be applied to hotel stays as well as restaurant bills.

To get started email us and we’ll give you all the resources you need. You can find further info about the programme on our website, or check out or blog over on the Social Sunday website to discover how Hai Cenato ran with the idea to do something fantastic.

Saddle up and come along for the ride

 

Hospitality Action is delighted to launch its fifth annual Le Tour de Cuisine – Cotswold Cycle Challenge on Monday 10th June, kindly sponsored by Sky and The Calcot Collection.

Team Sky with their medals

You will be astounded to learn that since 2015 when it first launched, the Cotswold Cycle Challenge has raised a staggering £220,000 for the charity. If you are a past participant, thank you so much for your contribution, it’s a tremendous success!

Hotels, restaurants, caterers, suppliers and hospitality businesses from the South West came together to celebrate our wonderful industry and raise much needed funds for their favorite charity. It is such a great day out: team building, networking, getting fit, coming together and having fun, all for a good cause. See here a few of the participating companies over the years.

Team Gold Key Media
Team Creed

 

 

 

 

 

Following tradition, there will be four cycle routes to choose from, which will all take in the spectacular North Cotswold countryside and will start and finish at charming Calcot.

The short ride (20 miles) is perfect for those who fancy a leisurely cycle; for those who are up for more of a challenge, there are two mid-routes to choose from (40 and 60 miles); and if these are not tough enough, then the long route (100 miles) might be more to your flavour!

We have improved all the routes again this year, staying away from the tough hills and the busy roads, making sure that cyclists of all abilities and ambition can take part and still enjoy the ride. Along the way, there will be feeding stations at Whatley Manor, The Manor at Castle Combe and at the Village Hall in Barnsley, which will offer an array of delicious delights kindly arranged by local hotels. At the finishing line at Calcot, cyclists will once again be able to enjoy a complimentary glass of Taittinger Champagne, kindly sponsored by Hatch Mansfield, a free leg massage, BBQ to celebrate their success including beverages and of course a well –deserved medal to celebrate your success.

The registration fee is £40, with a minimum of £100 sponsorship per person required to raise those much-needed funds for Hospitality Action’s cause. Let’s not forget that this is a fundraiser. Last year we raised over £50,000 for the charity, which was a truly magnificent effort.

We want to be able to assist even more hospitality people to turn their lives around this year, but we need your help to do it, so it would be really fantastic if you could participate once again with your teams and perhaps even cajole some additional industry riders to support and join in the fun! Let’s go for a record year. The funds you all raise really will make a huge difference to our work and will go towards supporting your colleagues in crisis, such as the Ellis Family.

For further information and to book your place, please visit our events page or email Maria at mcarter@hospitalityaction.org.uk

Show your support for Hospitality Action, come along for the ride!

We may be in competition but when it comes to giving something back we’re all one team, by Philip Newman-Hall

Little did I realise sitting at The Hotelier of The Year Lunch at Summer Lodge in 2010 that nearly ten years later the seeds of a post lunch discussion would still be germinating and that we would be arranging the fourth Back to the Floor Dinner at The Dorchester on April 26th 2019.

Mellowed by a glass of wine or two, Danny Pecorelli (MD Exclusive Hotels), Amanda Afiya (then Deputy Editor The Caterer), John Stauss (then GM The Four Seasons London), Simon Numphud (MD AA Hotel Services) and I were thinking of how we could give more back to Hospitality Action our main industry charity.

The light bulb moment came and the idea of Back to The Floor was sown.

Senior Hoteliers and Industry luminaries could go back to their roots and be waiters for a night serving guests and raising money at the same time.

I thought at the time that it would be a one off event and that would be that. How wrong could I be?

In 2013 the first seed eventually germinated…….yes three years is a long germination but sometimes things are worth waiting for.

Danny Pecorelli kindly hosted the first Back to the Floor dinner for 120 guests at Pennyhill Park and a team of 16 delivered an impeccable night of riotous hilarity (supposedly called service) compered by Peter Hancock to our guests who kindly donated £25,000 to Hospitality Action. Unfortunately I won the award for the “worst waiter” on the night………..never let these things get you down!

That’s that I stupidly thought.

Not to be……..Danny and others said we should do it again….and again….and again….

We progressed in 2015 to The Langham, London where Duncan Palmer kindly provided the venue. 220 guests, 40 industry luminaries brought together in a common cause and £52,000 raised for Hospitality Action.

2017 took us to Grosvenor House, kindly hosted by Stuart Bowery, 350 guests, 55 members of the team and £91,000 raised. (I believe this still to be the highest amount raised at a single event for Hospitality Action).

2019 is now upon us and we are going to do it all over again. Zoe Jenkins of The Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park very kindly persuaded the team at The Dorchester to host this years event and we are hoping for 400 guests, 70+ Industry professionals and to raise over £100,000 for Hospitality Action on the evening of Friday 26th April. Peter Hancock will be performing his usual magic act of removing money from guests pockets via auctions and raffles! My sincere thanks to the kind folk at Laurent-Perrier for generously providing towards our champagne reception, sadly I cannot guarantee there will be no spillages.

The guests at each event have been a mixture of industry and our guests get an opportunity of really meeting the hotel GM or industry luminary who is serving them in a very relaxed manner. It’s better networking than any sales event!!

Danny Pecorelli and Julian Tomlin at Back to the Floor 3, 2017

None of the above would have been possible without the generous support of the host hotels, the teams in them, the industry leaders who give their time to be the waiters and the sommeliers, our suppliers of food and beverage and the people especially at Hospitality Action and those who support the logistics behind the events. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

This brings me back to the title of this piece. We may be in competition but as an industry the hospitality industry is brilliant at working together for a common cause. We all know that we have led charmed and blessed lives working in hospitality but not everyone is as fortunate as us. It only takes a serious illness or a mental breakdown or sudden death to bring a family to its knees and it is up to us to support those members of our profession in their time of need.

Back to the Floor is a fun way for senior industry professionals to give back and highlight what is important in society today. It also makes us all realise what hard work cooking and serving our guests is and that our teams give so much each and every day.

I have been proud to have been a small part along with many colleagues of Back to the Floor and hope that it will be part of the industry calendar every other year for many years to come.

I started with germination, like an Oak Tree which started as an Acorn, our little post lunch seed has to me blossomed beautifully.

If you would like to donate a prize, purchase any places or perhaps even sponsor the evening please contact Giuliana: gvittiglio@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call 020 3004 5504 for any further information.

The Staff Canteen helps Hospitality Action as it helps build careers …

Support for Hospitality Action comes in all shapes and sizes.

Some people like to skydive, others prefer to ease into a bath full of baked beans. Troy Smith opts for Tough Mudders and other endurance sports. Meanwhile, Denise this summer cycled from London to Paris in memory of her husband, Paul.

Next month, our friends at the Staff Canteen, the UK’s largest online network of professional chefs, are supporting us at the first of a new series of events aiming to celebrate hospitality as a great career choice.

UK hospitality will never resolve its enduring skills shortage until it takes proactive steps to sell itself as a career of choice – and that starts with showcasing why it’s such an amazing sector to work in.

The Staff Canteen Live college tour is taking top chefs back to college in a first step to tackling the chef shortage at grass roots level, by highlighting the many and varied career options available in foodservice. The tour aims to inform students on how to forge a successful career in hospitality. It’s being run in partnership with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

The tour’s first stop is at Westminster Kingsway College, on Monday, 3 December, where students will be able to quiz a panel of chefs comprising Michelin-starred John Williams MBE, Executive Chef at The Ritz; Alyn Williams, Chef Patron of Alyn Williams at The Westbury and The Wild Rabbit; Rob Kennedy, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland; Glenn Evans, Head of Food Development at Las Iguanas; and Ruth Hansom, Head Chef at Luton Hoo Hotel.

For John Williams and Ruth, the event will be a trip down memory lane – both studied at Westminster Kingsway.

John is encouraging students to “listen and learn from us as we have been there and done it”.

And Ruth agrees. “It’s important to nurture and encourage young people into the industry”, she says. “It can be tough but it’s also rewarding, which is why it’s important to find the best route for you. It’s key to show young people all the avenues as they are so diverse.”

Mark Morris, Founder of The Staff Canteen, says: “on our panel are some of the most successful chefs working in the industry today. They all began their careers in a very similar environment to the students who join the tour. I hope we communicate that our panel have been successful through hard work; and that all that’s separating the students and them, is a structured career path and a strong work ethic.”

The event will be live-streamed on The Staff Canteen’s Facebook page and YouTube channel from 5pm. It’s the first of four events at colleges around the UK, in the coming months.

If you’d like to get involved in future tour events, email jen@thestaffcanteen.com or call 0330 202 1051.

And what’s in it for HA? The Staff Canteen will be donating £1000 to us on behalf of the chefs on the panel, to reflect the fact that we provide a safety net to catch chefs and other hospitality workers, if they fall.

Thanks, Staff Canteen.

Celebrate the Mandarin Oriental team’s big hearts – and share in our good fortune

A wise man once said that “misfortune nobly born is good fortune.”

I quoted Juvenal at the Worshipful Company of Innholders dinner, last week; now I’m referencing Marcus Aurelius. I wonder how you say ‘get me’, in Latin?

When a fire broke out at her hotel this summer, just one week after it had unveiled a multimillion-pound refurbishment, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park GM Amanda Hyndman must have wondered what she had done to deserve such misfortune. That the fire struck two days into Amanda’s stewardship of the hotel only added insult to injury.

“It’s at times like this that you discover the great pride and loyalty the staff have in the hotel,” she told The Caterer at the time. “There has been a real ‘can do’ spirit amongst everyone. The London Fire Brigade has been amazing and we have had tremendous support from our neighbours with hampers arriving from Harrods and hotels such as the Berkeley, Bulgari and  Jumeirah being so incredibly generous.”

Demonstrating a stoicism that Marcus Aurelius would have applauded, and humbled by the support they received, Amanda and her team quickly decided to turn a negative into a positive.

In days, they had launched FANtastic London, a charitable initiative that aims to thank their local community for its support and care after the fire.

FANtastic London is deploying 400 of the hotel’s workforce to support charities and organisations active or based in the capital, as repairs to the hotel continue. Amanda estimates as much as 40,000 working hours will be donated before the property’s reopening, later this year.

Beneficiaries of the scheme include Walking With The Wounded, Age UK, Thrive Battersea Garden Project, Oxfam, the London Fire Brigade, the Felix Project – and Hospitality Action.

Each week, volunteers Ksenia (pictured with HA’s Astrid Wears-Taylor) and Malin spend a day at our Farringdon office, supporting our fundraising and grant-giving efforts.

And, this week, a crack team of envelope-stuffers will converge on our boardroom to help despatch the Autumn edition of our Golden Friends newsletter.

From a terribly difficult situation, Amanda and her management team have found a way to galvanise their workforce, give them valuable life experiences, and help further the work of many good causes.

It’s been our good fortune at HA to benefit from the altruism shown by the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, and for this we’re hugely grateful.

The hotel’s support of HA continues next Thursday, 20 September, when Amanda and her team host a reception on the Serpentine Solar Boat, Hyde Park, in aid of us.

If you’re free, we’d love you to join us. Tickets are £95 per person. Please email mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk if you’d like to help celebrate a noble and philanthropic initiative over a glass or two of fizz.

How Olleco are turning waste oil into a balm for hospitality people in difficulty

Back in February, I write a blog detailing how cooking oil supplier and recycler, Olleco, supports Hospitality Action as part of its wider CSR commitment. 

“Olleco understand that supporting HA creates a virtuous circle”, I wrote. “By supporting our efforts to keep hospitality professionals happy, healthy and work-ready, they are helping build sustainable businesses around the sector – and therefore future-proofing their own business.”

Kate Mortimer, Olleco’s Group Marketing and Communications Manager, told me: “In 2012 we embarked on a journey to find a charity partner who could help us extend our ethos of care. 
Individuals working within the catering and hospitality sector are key to our business. The very people the charity helps are the people that we deal with on a daily basis, delivering cooking oil and collecting organic waste streams.”

Every time Olleco sells cooking oil or collects used oil from its customers it makes a donation to HA. This summer, the total amount the business has donated has reached a staggering £100,000. One hundred thousand shiny pounds!

It’s no exaggeration to say that HA would be unable to help people like Simon Holwell (pictured at the top of this page and featured in the video above), without the support of Olleco and all the other businesses and individuals who tirelessly raise funds for us.

Congratulations on your milestone and thank you from the team at HA and all our beneficiaries.

Would you like to benefit from the virtuous circle of supporting HA? Drop me a line at mlewis@hospitalityaction.org.uk or call me on 07919 324978.

Happy teams and the halo effect: how our EAP can help hospitality suppliers, too

More and more operators are catching on to the value of Hospitality Action’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). At just £5 per team-member per year to support the health, happiness and work-readiness of their workforce, why wouldn’t they?

But did you know our EAP isn’t tailored exclusively for operators – that we also offer it to suppliers of products and services into the hospitality market?

Personal and health issues can have a major impact on the way people work, resulting in reduced performance, lack of focus and absence. These, in turn, can lead to lost productivity and significant cost to employers. Our care programme offers a raft of benefits, including personal counselling, legal guidance, addiction support, debt advice and a financial well-being service, parenting helpline, elderly care helpline and a whistle-blowing service.

For subscribing suppliers, participation in the scheme is a win-win. It demonstrates a commitment to their team’s physical and mental wellbeing; provides a tool for growing morale and therefore retention; ensures employees are productive and undistracted by issues that might prevent them from focussing fully on their jobs; and enables them to invest in the sustainability of the industry they serve, and whose robust health they depend upon.

Already, we’ve got the likes of ACT Clean, The Caterer, HIT Training and Oranka Juice Solutions onboard as clients. This summer, they’ve been joined by the Country Range Group, who become the first foodservice wholesale buying group to subscribe.

Country Range are no strangers to HA. Last year – their twenty-fifth – they nominated us as their charity of the year and raised an impressive £25,000 in support of us.

Country Range Group Managing Director Coral Rose explains why the group is so supportive of HA: “The charity has a wonderful heritage, it’s genuine and credible, and it’s geared up to supporting the industry we also support in a wide number of ways, from addiction awareness for students right through to companionship for the elderly.

“Last year, to mark our anniversary, we did loads of activities in aid of HA, including a Muddy Maniac challenge and a gala dinner at Hampden Court. We also had a stationary bike installed at our office. Members of the team took it turns to cycle until we’d completed a 1000-mile virtual cycle-ride around all our customers’ locations. The team loved getting involved, which made it great both for team building and for member engagement.”

Creed Foodservice, one of the 12 independent wholesalers that comprise the group, also actively supports HA at events such as our Cotswold Cycle Challenge; and Managing Director Philip de Ternant sits on our Southwest fundraising committee.

Now the Country Range Group has extended its support of HA to include our EAP.

Coral says: “We’d written about the EAP in our customer magazine, Stir It Up, but we thought it was just for end-users. When we became aware it could be applied to wholesalers, we decided to sign up as a group. It represents good value, it allows us to support the industry charity, and it’s a cost-effective way for members to give benefits to their own employees.”

Would you like to safeguard the wellbeing of your workforce and benefit from the halo effect that comes from supporting the industry you serve? Contact us now at eap@hospitalityaction.org.uk.

100 miles in aid of Hospitality Action

We celebrate 13 brave cyclists who represented Hospitality Action and our industry on Sunday 29th July and completed the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 in wet and windy conditions. The team jointly raised over £12k for our charity.

The cyclists include Richard Davies Chef at Calcot,  Richard Ball Executive Director of the Calcot Collection, Brian Rowledge and Adam Rowledge, General Manager at Georgian House Hotel, Chris Moore from The Clink Charity, Carl Maskell Director at Just Chefs. Chef Adam Grey, industry professionals John Webb, Steve Batten, Richard Turner, Chris Schroeder, Raul Deflorian, Front of House Manager at 45 Park Lane, The Dorchester Collection and Nicholas Rettie The Master of The Worshipful Company of Innholders.

What teams them all up are their passions for cycling and hospitality.

     

Here is what our supporter Raul Deflorian, Front of House Manager at 45 Park Lane, The Dorchester Collection said: “We made it!!! It was really tough, two bad punctures after the biggest hill of the race and a lot of rain and wind, but overall very pleased! I managed to reach the target and contribute to the outstanding work that you all do at Hospitality Action!”

Long term supporter Nicholas Rettie, Master of The Worshipful Company of Innholders said: “I rode the Prudential London Surrey a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was delighted to have got a place this year through Hospitality Action. I’ve been in the hotel business all my working life and have always admired the work Hospitality Action do for the people in our wonderful industry who are in need of support. To raise some money by riding 100 miles was exhausting, but it was really rewarding and for such a worthy cause!”

Final word from Adam Rowledge, General Manager at Georgian House Hotel:

“It has been a pleasure to work with Hospitality Action since I became aware of the excellent work that they do around 7 years ago. There are so many different ways to support the charity, many of which I have been fortunate to be able to do during this time, from completing sponsored events such as the British 10k run and RideLondon 100, staging fundraising and awareness events during Hospitality Action Week, welcoming guests to my hotel for Golden Friends afternoon teas and of course attending the more indulgent events such as the wonderful Back to the Floor dinner and of course there are many more ways that you can help, all year round. I passionately believe that we not only should want to support Hospitality Action to give back to our industry but that we actually have a duty to. The charity is always there whenever we or our team needs its support and I have been fortunate to directly see the benefit of their involvement in my own business through the Employee Assistance Programme and the support that HA provided to our additional focus on employee wellbeing.”

We thank our supporters for making our work possible. Without the funds you raise, our hands will be tied and our phone lines will be unanswered. Isn’t it comforting that hospitality workers in need have somewhere to turn to?

You are selflessly pushing yourself to achieve a challenge, to deserve the pledged moneys, only to hand everything over and help the colleagues within our industry who are next in line to be given support in their difficult time.

Yes, there is a constant stream of applications to assist and we can’t turn anyone away. If people have reached out, they are relying on our help. Going forward, we can’t leave anyone behind. Asking for help is hard and most often people would like to remain anonymous. We try and help people confidentially and without any disruption to their personal or working life whenever possible. That way they manage to keep up with their lives, keep their dignity and regain their confidence and power back.

Hospitality Action is here, with all our 181 years of experience to support you, educate or assist you. Only together we can make the changes that are worth making in the industry we all love. Choose to fundraise, choose to support, sign up for our newsletter and feel part of the conversation.